Individuals seeking artistic inspiration may have to look no further than their local cannabis dispensary! A recent study from Washington State University suggests cannabis may boost creativity, while at the same time also proposing that personalities drawn to using cannabis are — by nature — more creative. So, is there a link between cannabis and creativity? Is it possible that cannabis enhances creativity?
Cannabis and Creativity, According to Science
Differing from a Schafer and colleagues 2011 study, here users were observed when intoxicated as well as when not intoxicated; whereas Washington State University opted to measure their subjects solely while sober. The focus of the study was on self-reported creativity, and deciding if the results of those tests were due to cannabis rather than the Big 5 personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism).
Consisting of 412 sober cannabis users and 309 non-cannabis users, the study states that cannabis users self-reported higher levels of creativity. Fans of the popular medicinal herb also did better than their non-using counterparts when measured on convergent thinking, a logical systematic approach to problem solving.
Adversely, Schafer et al. suggests that cannabis increases divergent thinking, a way of solving problems more creative and unique than the straightforward process of convergent thinking. To combine the results of both studies would mean that cannabis users are better at both convergent and divergent thinking than non-users.
Cannabis Enhances Creativity, in Moderation
Before everyone gets too excited about cannabis and creativity, and starts swapping out their breakfast with all varieties of cannabis cuisine in hopes of advancing their process of thinking, there is one exceptions: intensity of the high.
A 2015 study from Leiden University in the Netherlands shows that while cannabis did in fact increase creative thinking in the subjects, it only did so when the weed was not super potent. When participants were too high (which could be a result of the strain, the dosage or both), their creative process was actually impaired, concluding that moderation is the key to using Mary as a muse.
While that might be a bummer for frequent cannabis connoisseurs to hear, they can rest assured that — even when they are not high — those who are drawn to the allure of Mary Jane tend to be more creative than those who aren’t interested in cannabis.
Testing of the Big 5 personality traits in the Washington State University study shows that cannabis users demonstrated higher levels of openness to new experiences — which researchers believe may be an artifact to the participants’ enhanced creativity.
So, maybe the best way to spark creativity is either to spark up a joint from time to time, or to just simply be open to it!
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